The Harley-Davidson adventure rider
Richie Finney is best known for grooming busy beards with his Captain Fawcett products, but he’s also getting a reputation for his exploits on a motorcycle, especially Harley-Davidsons.
Richie Finney’s adventures have taken him to countless countries and across the world. If it has two wheels and an engine Finney has probably ridden it. And while he has fond memories of riding his Royal Enfield in the Himalayas and an unrequited love for Harley-Davidson’s, he is willing to jump on any motorbike for a two-wheeled adventure.
The creator of Captain Fawcett – a men’s grooming brand – has toured in the likes of Thailand, Cambodia, India, Norway, Burma and Transkei.
“I’ve done lots of different kinds of riding, although I have a passion for Harley-Davidson and Indian – I don’t mind,” Finney told Influx Magazine.
“I mean I go all around the world, and wherever I am, I’ll pick up anything. If we happen to be in Thailand, and it’s a moped, that’s ok by me. It only needs two wheels and an engine.
“I rode the complete length of Norway, from the North Cape down. In South Africa, riding through the Transkei – there were literally no roads, just riding along beaches. That’s incredibly strenuous riding.
“In the Himalayas, that’s been absolutely spectacular riding along roads that literally cut off into a cliff. Sheer drops 2,300ft down. These roads aren’t paved per se. So I will ride anything anywhere.”
But it’s not just the roar of the engine or the breathtaking views that Finney has enjoyed over the years. He feels as though he has a spiritual connection to the roads when riding a motorcycle.
“There’s something quite primordial about it all, and you get a sense of freedom that’s not available in a car or a cage,” he said.
“You can cut through traffic, be in touch with what’s going on, feel part of everything and be in tune with the road. It’s quite spiritual. Not much is going to hold you back, and you can make progress when others are stuck. It’s a feeling of slight rebellion and throwing a finger to the world.”
You may be forgiven for thinking “throwing a finger to the world” may have been his thought process when he was a teenager. Yet, his love for motorcycles is still burning just as brightly. His 50th birthday was anything but the typical celebration of a man turning reaching half a century. Instead of buying an overpriced car or bike, or having a big party, he opted to build a set of unique Rotary Ironhead Sports.
“For my 50th birthday, I built a set of Rotary Ironhead Sports and everything on it is individual – the frame has been made, the tank’s made, and everything is very personal. It’s the kind of bike people will look at, and even if people say I wouldn’t be seen dead on that, it would bring a smile to somebody’s face because it’s actually faulty. It’s ridiculous.”
Finney has lead something of a unique life. His previous job was as a sound engineer in the film and television industry, and when he clocked off for the day, he would often explore the long and winding roads of whichever town or city he was in, based on the wisdom from local riders.
But it’s not just the connection to the road that Finney enjoys about two-wheeled vehicles. It’s also the companionship and community feel among bikers, even when they are total strangers.
Captain Fawcett may be his most well-known business, but the wily veteran rider also created Saddletramp Adventure Travel, to give back to the biking community and with his previous experience of running tours for the Harley-Davidson Museum.
“I run a lot of Harley-Davidson events” exclaimed Finney. “Captain Fawcett, my company, is a Harley-Davidson ambassador. It got to the point where I was running tours for the Harley-Davidson Museum and taking Bill Davidson, the Vice President of the company, and his colleagues on a very special tour that ended at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Willy G Davidson was there with his wife, Nancy.”
While his travels have largely seen him travel across Europe, Africa and Asia, Finney has plans of going even further afield in his pursuit of the next great motorcycle adventure. “I’ve got Melbourne, Australia to come,” he said.
“And I’m organising a Harley tour for 2019 that will take in Monument Valley, Death Valley and San Francisco. I like to provide an experience and a ride I would like to do. We’ve started a tour at the Ford Motor Company, gone through Michigan and over the Upper Peninsula, dropped into Milwaukee and then 1,400 miles later ended up at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
“New Zealand is a must; it’s definitely on my wishlist. I hear the roads are pretty empty and it’s a slower pace of life, so that’s somewhere I want to go.”
It’s safe to say that wherever Finney’s next adventure takes him, he will continue to search for new destinations. But when asked to sum up his love of motorbikes, he simply stated: “It’s the whole experience.
“There’s the smell; there’s the interaction with that road. For me, motorcycles have always been an accessible way of showing my character – and being slightly different to the crowd.”
Get yourself sorted:
Richie likes a Harley for his travels but the fact is you can use practically any bike for an adventure, not just the big boys. In fact, our Life on Bikes section has ideas on lots of different ways to get on a bike and get out there.
This article was produced with the assistance of the online magazine Influx.
About Influx Magazine
Influx Magazine is an online magazine celebrating the best of motoring culture and offers enthusiasts and petrolheads an eclectic mix of the world’s finest cars and bikes, from motorsport giants to prototype fantasies. If it’s got wheels, an engine and sounds a satisfying growl, you’ll find it at https://www.influx.co.uk.